Sound familiar? Well, it should! For years we have been told that a well-fitting bra is an essential component of our comfort and well-being, and yet time and again puppies and dogs are expected to wear an intimate piece of equipment that the owner chose on the basis of colour or fashion.
And why does this matter?
Because a dog in a poorly fitting harness may be more than just uncomfortable, she may find her movement restricted, her confidence in her owner diminished, and – worse – she may start to associate being outdoors, or even the presence of other dogs and people – with the discomfort associated with the equipment.
So, what can owners do to ensure that their dog is wearing the right bit of kit?
“There are several rules,” says Sarah – but if you imagine that you need to choose and fit your dog’s harness with the same care as you would a bra, then you won’t go far wrong.”
1.Just like a bra, not every style or shape will suit. Every dog is different, and the style is as important as the fit – which needs to be perfect if it is to be comfortable.
2. When choosing a style, it’s not just about back clip or front clip! It’s about where the dog’s weight and pressure will be exerted if your dog pulls, and how comfortable it is to put on or take off. For example, if your dog has big ears and rather bulgy eyes, then a style which is tight and needs to be pulled on and off over the head and face is not ideal.
3. It should suit the purpose. Yep. Just like a bra! Sport or every-day wear? Going to let your dog off lead while wearing the harness? If so, the fit needs to be very snug so that it doesn’t get snagged or caught on anything while the dog is free running.
4. It needs to be comfortable! This means you need to get the fit spot on, and it shouldn’t impede your dog’s movement – and this includes any kind of shoulder restriction across the front.
5. In order to ensure you buy the right size of harness for your dog, you will need to measure him or her. Yes, properly! All of the best quality harness companies now have excellent guides on their websites to show you how.
6. OK, blindingly obvious, but if you have a puppy or a young dog, you will need to re-size the harness, buy a bigger one (or bigger component) as he or she grows.
7. Every dog needs gradual and careful training to accept and enjoy wearing any piece of training equipment, and if you can train your dog to put it on voluntarily, then even better. Sarah has a guide on how to do this as part of her free give-away guide.
With an estimated one in four households now owning a dog in the UK, don’t we at least owe it to our dogs to make sure they are suitably attired?
Check out the full guide: Why your Dog’s Harness Needs to Fit Like a Bra!